Am off for a week to Stockholm to give a couple of talks & participate in panel discussions. Audience for first is attendees of the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers. Here's the synopsis of what I'll be saying:
Want to make a difference? Then, don’t “message” the public; satisfy its curiosity
Can science filmmakers promote public acceptance of the best evidence relating to the reality of human-caused climate change and other disputed science issues? Maybe, but not in the manner that one might think. In particular, it is a mistake to believe that the simple presentation of factually accurate information, even in a dramatically compelling form, will change people’s minds. Research on cultural cognition shows that most individuals can be expected to selectively credit and discredit such information in patterns that reflect and reinforce the factual positions that predominate within their cultural groups. Indeed, this form of bias, experimental data show, grows in intensity as individuals become more adept at making sense of scientific information. Nevertheless, a segment of the general population appears to be relatively immune to these dynamics. These individuals are ones who possess the highest levels of science curiosity, a general disposition to seek out and consume scientific information for personal pleasure. Science-curious individuals are the core audience for excellent science films. Although relatively small in number, these individuals occupy a potentially critical niche in the ecology of political opinion formation, since they are situated to credibly vouch for the validity of the best evidence within their cultural communities. The strategic upshot is that science filmmakers ought to concentrate not on “messaging” the general public but rather on simply making excellent films that satisfy their core audience's distinctive appetite to know what is known. The new science of science communication, moreover, can help filmmakers unlock the knowledge-promoting energy of science curious citizens by furnishing filmmakers with tools they can use to make their films as appealing to as culturally diverse an audience of viewers as possible.
Somehow this got revised in the program into a statement that suggests I hold the position that science filmmakers are "all wrong" & I'm going to show them how to do it & by presenting research "demolishing" what they believe .... I'd never say that, and that's not the philosophy of the CCP Science of Science Filmmaking Initiative ... So I'll deal with a bit of "post truth" fact correction at the outset of my talk, I suppose. But it will a lot of fun I'm sure.
Then there's a second talk for SVT, the Swedish public television producer, on misinformation. The 14 billion readers of this blog know how I fee about that.
I'll try to remember to send postcards!